Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School

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Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6–12
Believe. Be alive. Work.
United States
Type Public - Magnet
Established September 1979
School district Pittsburgh Public Schools
Principal Ms. Melissa Pearlman
Grades 6–12
Enrollment 894 as of August 2010[1]
Color(s) Black and white, Also red, yellow, white and blue written out in CAPA's symbol
Athletics Ultimate Frisbee
Mascot Unicorn
Representative Mark Brentley, Sr.

Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts 6–12 (CAPA) is a magnet school located in the Cultural District of Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. CAPA is one of four 6th to 12th grade schools in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It was formed from a merger between CAPA High School and Rogers CAPA Middle School.

CAPA offers students six art majors: visual arts, literary arts, theater, instrumental music, vocal music, and dance. The theater major includes traditional theater, musical theater, and technical theater. Arts classes are taught by adjunct faculty who are working professionals in their fields.

Admission is by portfolio or audition. The school offers academic studies including Pittsburgh Scholars Program (PSP) and Centers for Advanced Study (CAS), along with activities like the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, yearbook, newspaper, student council, Amnesty International, Model United Nations, the American Mathematics Competitions and North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad, and ski club.

CAPA opened in September 1979 with 35 students, housed in Baxter Elementary School in the Homewood neighborhood. The school moved into its current space at Ninth Street and Fort Duquesne Boulevard at the beginning of the 2003–2004 school year.

The 11-story, 175,000-square-foot (16,300 m2) includes a 400-seat auditorium, a black box theater, a caberet theater, an art gallery, media arts center, television studio, fitness center, computer labs, and rehearsal spaces for the departments. This location allows students to study their craft in the hub of Pittsburgh's cultural center and to collaborate with artists from all over. Pittsburgh CAPA has become one of four 6–12 schools in Pittsburgh.

Academic achievement

In 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked 21,000 public high schools in the United States based on three factors. First, the schools were analyzed for the number of students who achieved above the state average on the reading and math tests in 2008. Then they considered how the economically disadvantaged students performed against the state average. Finally, they considered the participation rate and the performance of students in college readiness by examining Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate test data. Seventy Pennsylvania high schools earned a bronze, silver or gold rating. Fifty-three Pennsylvania high schools achieved bronze.[2] Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts High School achieved a Silver ranking. Eight high schools in Allegheny County and two Pittsburgh School District schools achieved inclusion in the ranking. Also in 2009, students from the school performed for First Lady Michelle Obama and the spouses of other leaders attending the G-20 summit.[3]


  • African-American: 292 (32%)
  • American Indian: 0 (0.00%)
  • Asian: 28 (3%)
  • Hispanic: 17 (2%)
  • Multi-Racial: 60 (7%)
  • White: 562 (57%)
  • Male Students: 298 (32%)
  • Female Students: 625 (68%)

Literary arts

The literary arts program at CAPA is a seven-year course of study in creative writing — one of only a dozen nationwide. Student activities include the national Poetry Out Loud competition, and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.[4]

Visual arts

Students in the Visual Arts Department learn painting, drawing, sculpting, ceramics, printmaking, digital media, art history, and fiber arts. Student work is displayed around the school as well as on the Astrovision (Jumbo-Tron) which can be seen outside the building and in the lunch hall. [5]


File:Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni, Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva.jpg
First Lady Michelle Obama, Carla Bruni, wife of then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and Marisa Leticia Lula da Silva, wife of then Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, pose for a group photo after a performance by students of CAPA in September 2009.

The mission of the Dance Department is to provide a comprehensive and quality dance education in an environment that nurtures the talent of each individual dancer. Emphasis is placed on refining and enhancing dance technique while simulating creativity.


Straight Theatre/Musical Theatre/Technical Theatre. The theatre department provides a four-year structured course in musical and straight theatre. Every year the musical theatre students perform two recitals and the All School Musical.

Instrumental music

Classes available to instrumental music majors include orchestra, wind ensemble, string orchestra, chamber music ensembles, various jazz bands, music/jazz theory, music history, piano lab. Each student normally receives a weekly private lesson with a faculty member specializing on his/her instrument.

Vocal music

The Voice Department offers students education through its sequential four-year curriculum, through collaborative work with professional music organizations, and through performance opportunities and Master Classes. Students in grades 9–12 receive a private voice lesson every other week. Students will perform in Concert Choir, Jazz Choir, and Chamber Ensemble. Students participate in the Opera Workshop class and perform in the yearly Opera. Other classes include: music theory, piano lab, music history, solfeggio, eurhythmics, Studio Class, and the creative music technology class. Each Friday, students perform in a recital for their peers studying vocal music. They showcase songs that they work on in private lessons with the staff.


In addition to the Ultimate Frisbee team, CAPA students may play on the University Prep football team and the Obama Academy teams in other sports.

The 6–8 students do have sports teams. They have a boys and girls soccer, basketball, girls softball and boys baseball. The girls soccer team was an undefeated section champion in 2004. Their main rivalry is against Pittsburgh Frick 6–8 Middle School. The CAPA 6–8 sports teams mascot is the unicorn changed from the phoenix in 2012, changed from the unicorn in 2011.


  1. "Pittsburgh CAPA 6–12". PPS Web Site. Retrieved 2009-09-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Best High Schools 2008, U.S. News and World Report. December 9, 2009
  3. "Lehane Directs Unique Concert". Carnegie Mellon University. 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Literary arts mission statement". CAPA Website. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2006-12-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Visual Arts Department". CAPA Web Site. Archived from the original on 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2006-12-12.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links